Blood Deficient

I saw my acupuncturist last week for some aches and pains. I’ve been on Dr Zhang’s Chinese Herbs for over a year trying to kill the worst of my infections, Babesia. Bab’s is a parasite cousin to Malaria….not a fun visitor by any stretch of the imagination and very hard to kill. Although Bab’s is still around, I’ve had great relief from it and I live an enriched life today.

One of my aches has been a burning stabbing pain in my right elbow and shoulder. In Chinese medicine heat indicates stuck blood. (please know that I don’t pride myself in using correct technical terms…I just try to get the jist of it) Lisa, my acupuncturist, did the little pinch the fingernail tips and thought I was a little blood deficient. That really didn’t come as a surprise. I know that ever since my battle with Hemolytic Anemia last fall, even though I brought my RBC back to normal with food and herbs, I continue to battle fatigue. If you think that I am a boundless 51 yr old filled with energy who accomplishes great feats every day…then I have misled you! I am not. I do get a lot done, but it takes a lot more these days! And I usually don’t post my off days. Learning to live with a positive attitude has meant not always admitting that I feel like a piece of chewed up and spit out meat! But for those of you who visit my blog hoping to get some tips on living with these infectious diseases, I try to be a bit transparent for you.

I respond to acupuncture very quickly. Lisa got my blood flowing. I’ve been in complete menopause (literally means a pause in menses) for a year…well, she got a little flow going! I thought that was a great way for me to know that it was working. It comes as no surprise to me that after my treatment last week, my fatigue is worse. Sometimes in treating things naturally, it gets worse before it gets better.

My symptoms with Bab’s are: fatigue, nervousness, anxiety, crying, muscle pain, nerves jump in my body like the jitters (I can literally feel my nerves twitching or the energy flowing through them…it’s weird), insomnia, nausea, bloatedness….. while I’m at it I might as well blame it for overweight, silliness and sometimes offensive behavior!

Why not? Babesia is a very very wicked disease. I am grateful however that I’ve had so much relief from it and I believe that one day I will be free from it’s grip. Dr Zhang’s site now says that it’s recommended to double the dose of Artemesia and HH. My usual dose lately has just been 1 capsule per day. When it’s active I up the dose to the recommended 3 capsules per day. During this most recent activity, I’ll be upping my dose to 2 caps 3X day. I will probably up it gradually. I hate sudden death!

Here’s what it says on the fact sheet Lisa gave me. “The quality of our blood is a measure of the available nourishments circulating in our body. Blood nourishes our muscles, organs, brain, every part of us. It’s quality depends on the quality of food we eat and our ability to absorb nourishment. In other words it depends on the strength of our Spleen.” In reading about the blood it makes sense that insomnia and difficulty thinking are a problem, and fatigue in the muscles all due to a lack of blood flow. Babesia attacks and kills the red blood cells, thus a lack of blood flow.

I’ll focus my diet again on blood building foods which include, fermented apricots, fresh liver, fermented beets, dark leafy greens braised in stock with a little balsamic vinegar, infused nettle tea, bone marrow in the form of stock, grapes, sardines, figs, and eggs.

When I feel like this I don’t want to fuss much over food, the easier the better. I always try to keep most of these foods on hand and I do try to keep my diet filled with variety. I have a ton of ferments in the frig and an Autumn garden growing dark leafy greens. My fresh pastured chickens always come with livers and hearts and they are scrumptious fresh! Yes, I said chicken livers are scrumptious! Braised in a little lard with some red onion they are great. The fresher the better and be sure to not over cook.

Here’s what I had for lunch yesterday.

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Heat up the stock and add several handfuls of greens per person….they will cook down to nothing. In my mix I’ve got beet greens, spinach and kale.

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I added some fennel root that I cut from the garden and some red onion. A dash of balsamic vinegar and it was so good, I could of eaten an entire plate full.

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I threw in a leftover pastured chicken wing and added fermented beets for a good blood fortifying nutrient dense meal.

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My Plan

I’ve been reading about anemia of course on the web all morning.  It’s amazing that there are so many reasons and so many different types of anemia.  Since I don’t have enough information yet, I’m going to work with my diet.  I found a wonder Herbal Tonic that I’ll fix up today…..hoping I have yellow dock root,opps, I know I don’ t have any molasses, so it looks like I need to stop at the Health Food Store before swimming class.

An iron-rich herbal tonic can also me made using the following recipe:

  • soak 1/2 oz of yellow dock root and 1/2 oz dandelion root in 1 qt of boiled water for four to 8 hours
  • strain and simmer until the amount of liquid is reduced to 1 cup
  • remove from heat and add 1/2 cup black strap molasses, mixing well
  • store in refrigerator; take 1 tsp-2 Tbsp daily

Here is a list of foods that I can focus on, even though I already eat lots of these, I’ll take my Crispy Almonds with me in the car and munch on them before and after swimming.

It’s really amazing that I haven’ t drowned!!!  Think about it.  How on earth have I had the energy to do water jogging for an hour, twice a week?  Maybe it’s a God thing!!!  I do love God things!

And good news on that front…not only did I drop 1 pants size, I can fit (uncomfortably) into another size down from that.  So, that’s 2 pant sizes!!!!!!!!!! Wahoo!  Now I know why they tell you not to look at the scale, but to measure by how your undies fit! 😀

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Hey I don’t see spinach on this list….isn’t spinach full of iron?  I cut a bunch from the garden for dinner.

Anyone who has anemia caused by poor nutrition should modify his or her diet to include more vitamins, minerals, and iron. Vitamin C can stimulate iron absorption. The following foods are also good sources of iron:

“Because light and heat destroy folic acid, fruits and vegetables should be eaten raw or cooked as little as possible.

Some examples of iron-rich herbs are dandelion (Taraxacum officinale), parsley (Petroselinum crispum), and nettle (Urtica dioica).”